Now that this year is practically over I get to look forward to what is going to happen next year. This summer I purchased a used bicycle for my use in the coming months. I have never been a competitive cyclist but have been an active and dedicated rider since way back at the dawn of the industrial age in the late 60’s.
Like a lot of people my age I pretty much gave up bikes when I got into high school. Only dorks rode bikes and I was certainly not going to be that. Once I got my drivers license I assumed I’d pretty much never ride a bike again. My dad in fact sold the last bike I had owned when he asked if I was going to use it again. He wanted it to be of use to someone if I wasn’t going to use it.
Then I moved out of the parental house. I had a girlfriend who lived about 5 miles away on the other side of town and no car. I hitched rides to go see her and for pretty much anything else when I needed to travel. Between that, the bus, getting rides from friends, borrowing cars, whatever we managed to get around town and the university no problem.
Then one night after dropping her off at her house and walking/ hitching home in a light drizzle, it occurred to me that I could already be home if I had been on a bike. THe next week I bought a brand new Sears 10 speed. One of the best bikes available in St Catharines at the time. I started riding again and soon realized what any cyclist knows. This is one of the simplest, most enjoyable, cheapest ways to get around that has ever been invented.
Over the next few years I started riding more and more. Even when I had a car I kept the bikes and went for rides just for fun, or to save money or because the car was tied up by something or someone. I began going farther and farther. When a friend went to Osgoode Hall law school in York University I went to visit her at least a couple of times by cycling all the way up and back.
Later, much later in 1985 I trained for and then took a long ride. I flew to Vancouver and then cycled back home practically all the way. I admit I took the train through several hundred miles in northern Ontario. The traffic on the Trans Canada was just a little too much for me so I took the ride from Dryden to Sudbury. Then finished off by cycling from Sudbury Home.
I have also visited my sister in Baltimore by cycling down there rather than driving. Like the smart man said “getting there is half the fun.” When you go by bike the trip itself becomes an integral part of the travel.
Over the years as various accidents and the wear and tear of an aging body has worked it’s magic on my body I’ve turned to recumbent bikes as a way to get out and pedal without giving in to the ravaged shoulder that makes extensive riding a pain in the neck literally.
So as I look forward to healing and recovering in 2011 I am also looking forward to getting back on the road with my beautiful new recumbent and once again feeling the joys of swooping down hills and slipping through the back roads in the sunshine.
If you see me on the road feel free to say hello and share a bit of the ride. It’s the most efficient mode of transportation known in the world and more fun than anything except possibly boats.
Have fun in the new year and remember to share the road. Whether you are a motorist or a cyclist. There is room for all of us out there.